Despite being designed to prevent life-threatening blood clots, IVC filters have ended up causing greater risk in many patients. Lawsuits against the makers of IVC filters claim that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn patients and physicians of the risks involved with the medical devices. In fact, the FDA received 921 adverse reports related to IVC filters between 2005 and 2010, including 328 involving device migration, 146 involving detachment, 70 involving perforation of the inferior vena cava, and 56 involving filter fracture.
Despite these warnings from the FDA, many IVC filter manufacturers still do not let patients know about the risks. In fact, current lawsuits claim that C.R. Bard knowingly hid the results of its own study because it found the filters to be dangerous. According to NBC News4, the doctor of the internal study concluded: “Further investigation…is urgently warranted.”
In one case, Kelly Vlasvich and her husband Chris sued Bard for negligence and breach of implied warranty. Kelly had a Bard G2 filter implanted in 2009. It wasn’t until 2011 did she begin experiencing complications. Doctors eventually discovered that the IVC filter had been fractured and a strut had become lodged in the right ventricle of her heart. Kelly claims this resulted in “significant medical expenses and has endured extreme pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement and other losses, which are permanent in nature.”
Vlasvich’s case is similar to many other qualified retainers pending in court. Thousands claim the devices have broken, fractured, or migrated. Some say the IVC filters have even been responsible for serious injury and death.
The most recent update to the ongoing IVC filter lawsuit involves a case against Cook Medical that resulted in a $3 million settlement verdict from a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana. The plaintiff, Tonya Brand, claimed that the defective IVC filter had broken into small pieces that spread to her thigh and near her spine. This was an important case in IVC filter litigation because it marks the first time a jury has reached a verdict that the IVC filters manufactured by Cook Medical are defective and dangerous.